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Main > Irish folktales > Fairy tale "A Year and a Day"

A Year and a Day

Beyond there were more hills, covered with rich woods. Little veils of mist hid them partly and made them more beautiful, and streams poured down from high places and looked like thin, silky tassels hung upon the hills, and they waved in the air, like the waving vines, and some of them seemed never to reach the ground at all, but to blow away into fine silver spray and to mix with the mists of the hills. And golden sunlight poured down over it all, and there was a warm shimmer in the air that made it all look like something seen in a dream. And this was Tir-na-n-Oge.

"The horse came to the shore and galloped over soft turf till it seemed to Oisin that they were in the very middle of the island, and there they came to a palace, and Oisin thought that it was more beautiful than anything else that he had seen. It may be that the palace was built of marble, but to Oisin it seemed like blocks of pure snow. It was so long that one might well mount his horse to go the length of it, instead of walking. It had gilded domes that looked like suns, with the light shining on them, and the whole palace was dazzling to look at. All around it were gardens, with trees and plants in full bloom, of all the colors of the rainbow, and colors that are not in the rainbow, and other trees with only deep green leaves, and pathways among them which led down into cool, shady hollows, with clear brooks running through them between banks of soft, dark-green moss, sinking their quiet little song.

"Oisin got down off his horse and then lifted the Princess down, and they went into the palace. There the Princess's father, the King of Tir-na-n-Oge, made Oisin welcome and led both of them to the banquet hall, where a great feast was spread in honor of the Princess and the new Prince. And Oisin thought that if the palace was beautiful outside, it was much more beautiful inside, and as for the table that was before him, he could not think of any of the best things in the world to eat and to drink that were not on it.

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